Thursday, March 30, 2006

Super Family, Activate!

Last night my family had a conference call to begin developing a care plan around my Mom's heart transplant surgery. We made a plan of action from the moment Mom gets the call, well into 3 months after her surgery. It was truly a fantastic experience in a family rallying together and showing support for each other. I was proud of us. Really proud.

Here are some highlights of the players and our roles:

Kelly - My older sister. We are incredibly close and 100% committed to caring for our parents. She's probably the best caretaker of all of us, but she let me do most of the talking during the call. She's got four kids and a wonderful husband and they live in Norman, OK. Kelly's primary role will be tending to my Dad's needs (they're very close) while the rest of us focus on Mom. Because she's awesome at it, she will also cook and bake (I hope).

Jane- My Mom's younger sister. Jane is one of my favorite people in the whole world. I lived with her for about 6 months in Dallas after moving from New York. Jane is the Project Manager. She is the master e-mailer, facilitator, collector of contact information, information sharer, event planner and calendar keeper. She will also play a secondary role in bed-side duty with Mom immediately following the surgery. She lives in Phoenix, AZ.

Trina. My Dad's sister. Trina is the kindest and most sincere person you'll ever meet. She loves my Mom and Dad with all her heart. She also lives in Marble Falls and will serve as primary transportation to the hospital when Mom gets the call. She'll also rotate in/out as a bed-side aide for Mom.

Joyce. My Mom's older sister. A bit overbearing at times, but well-intentioned. She lives just outside Austin and will likely serve as the primary caretaker for Mom immediately following the surgery.

John. My brother. John and his wife Ellen are busy professionals with two kids. They've signed up for meal creation and delivery, airport transportation and temporary housing while we find a more permanent house/apartment to rent. They also have a swimming pool the size of Rhode Island, which will help for R&R requirements.

Me. I am the utility player and general counsel to the group. I will alternate with Kelly taking care of Dad. I will be in the rotation for bed-side care for Mom. I will cook pick up dinner on the way home. I will take people to appointments. I will assume all logistical and financial responsibilities on my parent's behalf to keep their house/life/business interests afloat. I will negotiate and secure the apartment or house. I will be there to assure that the team itself is taken care of and has appropriate shifts and relief. I will be on the front line asking questions of the doctors. I will provide comic relief and general entertainment. I will supply hugs for everyone.

And, it what is surely the most critical aspect of assuring my family's happiness: I will make the Coke floats.

These are going to be the most well taken care of people in the history of health care. As I see it, it's just a reflection of how truly awesome they both are. They deserve it.


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